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Neoliberal meltdown and social protest: Argentina 2001–2002

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Chapter Summary

Social inequality in Argentina experienced a sustained growth over the last three decades. During the final years of the 1990s and the initial years of the subsequent decade, this tendency accelerated. In March 2001, the appeal to a crude monetarist approach to manage the economic crisis triggered an outburst of angry street opposition that forced the government to step back from its implementation just a few days later. Poverty, inequality and social polarisation became sharply accentuated, in some cases doubling the levels that contributed to the social explosion of December 2001. Public policies managed to change the character and organisational forms of social protest. The chapter discusses objective capacity of the established political system, once compelled to process the crisis, to adapt itself to new social scenarios and to orchestrate a re-orientation of mass protest into less violent and less-threatening arenas.

Keywords: Argentina; macro-economic crisis; neoliberal policies; social explosion; social protest



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